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Rounders, the release of which coincided almost perfectly with the launch of online poker in 1998, is credited as having been a major cog in the poker boom of the early 2000’s.
Lately there has been chatter about the upcoming release of Rounders 2. Could the sequel to the cult classic, coming out during a time when regulated online poker is a reality, usher in a second poker boom?
Rumors of a follow-up to Rounders have been floated for years, but they really gained steam back in 2010 when Miramax and the Weinstein Company struck a deal to produce a number of sequels to “hit” films, with continuations of Rounders and Shakespeare in Love being the two films suggested.
Even before this deal was announced, the poker world was already clamoring for a sequel to what is the quintessential poker movie of this generation.
Despite decent reviews and its star-studded ensemble cast, the original Rounders was an utter failure at the box office. Rounders made just under $23 million during its run in US theaters.
The movie later became a cult classic thanks to its appeal to college kids.
Rounders managed to stay relevant thanks to the poker boom and Chris Moneymaker’s statement that it was the film that got him interested in poker, recounted by Grantland in their seminal write-up of the 2003 WSOP, When We Held Kings.
“…After we saw Rounders [which came out in 1998], we started playing almost exclusively no-limit hold ’em,” Moneymaker said.
David Levien and Brian Koppelman, the original writing duo for Rounders, have already penned a script for Rounders 2, according to Harvey Weinstein.
But this doesn’t necessarily mean the film will have the realism or the power of the original, or that poker players will be thrilled with the finished product.
Koppelman and Levien certainly hit a home run with the original Rounders, and they definitely know what it takes to make a good poker film.
Alas, the pair is also responsible for the recent poker movie Runner Runner (which wasn’t exactly a hit with the poker community), as well as multiple episodes of the forgettable TV series Tilt.
Will Rounders 2 pick up where the original left off, with Mike on his way to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas?
Probably not, based on Harvey Weinstein’s recent comments:
“The guys [writers David Levien and Brian Koppelman] have a great idea, a way to make it more international where you start the card game in Paris, that’s all I want to say. There might be a certain beautiful Parisian actress involved in it, and then we’re off to the racetrack and Vegas with Matty and Edward Norton, and a new supervillain to replace John Malkovich.”
One of the hardest parts of making any sequel is getting the original cast back together, especially some 15 years after the first film was released, but it would seem from Weinstein’s comments that Matt Damon is fully on board.
“I’ve discussed making ‘Rounders 2’ with Matt Damon and I would say that’s going to be instantaneous,” Weinstein remarked.
A number of other cast members, including Edward Norton (whom Weinstein mentioned by name when outlining the basic plot premise) have expressed an interest in a sequel as well, but as Weinstein mentioned above, there will also be a few changes, including a “new supervillain.”
According to deadline.com, the potential supervillain mentioned above could be none other than Robert DeNiro.